SINCE opening Hela Butcher 32 years ago, Anita and Helmut Fehrenback have developed the nuanced artistry of making the authentic German sausage.
On a weekday morning the butcher shop in Hilton is crammed with European regulars chatting in their native tongue.
They stand before a display of continental cold meats and an extensive selection of traditional and bold sausages, including fleischwurst, bratwurst, zungenwurst and kransky.
The sausages contain spices, peppers, beef and pork and reflect Fehrenback’s Black Forest provenance.
Instead of the standard practice of mincing, the mixture is finely sliced using a specialised cutter with six automated knives. The result is “greater texture and flavour,” Anita says.
The shop also sells a range of imported European goods, and on the weekend a select menu of pre-made delicacies, including beef tartare.
The Fehrenbacks immigrated to Australia after Mr Fehrenack finished his apprenticeship and masters in Germany. He worked in the city for three years as a butcher before taking a punt and opening his own shop in Hilton.
Over the years the couple have endured a number of challenges: the delicatessen is located above a derelict carpark on the South and Carrington street intersection, making the austere shopfront easy to miss, and since the rise of the supermarket chains, Ms Fehrenback has witnessed a number of independents close down.
“We have specialised so we have been able to stay open,” she says.
“We’re not like the supermarket chains…we like to stay in touch with the people that come in here.”
The steady flow of loyal customers is a testament to their longstanding relationship with the community, an ingredient that has allowed them to endure the tough times, Ms Fehrenback says.
With their children also working in the South Street shop, the family-run business is set to keep locals licking their lips for years to come.
by JAYDEN O’NEIL